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January 3, 2013

The Picture Shown Around the World

By now you may have heard about the sister of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg being upset over a picture posted on her personal Facebook account being posted on Twitter.  You may be asking how private those posts and pictures you put on Facebook really are. Apparently Randi Zuckerberg posted this picture so only her Facebook “Friends” could see it. Callie Schweitzer then posted it on her Twitter account. Callie Schweitzer while not a Facebook friend of Randi subscribes to her feeds and also is a Facebook friend of Mark and Randi’s sister. She apparently saw the picture because she is Facebook friends with the sister. Since her sister was tagged in the picture, Callie was able to see it. Callie thought that the picture was public since she subscribes to Randi’s posts on Facebook but this picture was not posted with access provided to subscribers.  It is not difficult to copy someone else’s picture that you see in Facebook. Click to open the picture and then right click.  An option to save will show among other options. Once saved, you can do with it as you wish including posting it to Twitter. On a personal note a friend of mine remarked how she was not able to download a picture of her and her daughters that her friend posted on Facebook. In a few seconds, I downloaded the picture and emailed it to her.

The protocol is to ask before posting someone else’s photos for others to see. Think of this as sending a letter to your friend who we will call “A”.  You do not expect that A will share the letter with others. A decides to share the letter with B and C. This is largely what happened here. The issue was not Facebook’s privacy settings but someone else sharing the picture above and beyond.  When you post to Facebook whether it be a picture, your writings, etc you should realize that it may be seen by those you did not intend to see it.  Note that while the picture was deleted by Callie Schweitzer, articles with the picture were posted online so it can be seen by all. I am using it in this article without compromising any confidences. And yes the man on the right side is Mark Zuckerberg himself.

The takeaway is to be careful of what you post on Facebook and other social media sites. Don’t put anything out there that you would not want to appear in a newspaper, seen by your boss, your parents, your children, etc.

If you have further questions about your privacy on Facebook and other social media sites I can be contacted at (917) 572-3468 or email me at .

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